Create a Home with a Parrot

Create a companion parrot home with trust and empathy as your foundation. The rest of the relationship will fall into place on it's own.

Create a Home with a Parrot

Home is not so much your home after bringing him a companion, but their home as well. This does not mean that the level of comfort you had previously been accustomed to must change, but perhaps it will need to be modified. Birds are, by nature, curious, and once acclimated to their new environs will begin to see opportunities for exploration. which means testing surfaces and textures with the beak. The idea that their explorations can be controlled has some merit, but serious faults; they can be at times directed, but the truth is that it's easier and safer to just remove temptations that can be harmful to them, or objects that are precious to you. Parrots love to test the boundaries, and as a result they tend to leave destruction in their wake, which is a good thing as most times it is a form of psychological enrichment that can only come from chewing bits of bird-safe woods into sawdust, shredding paper into pulp. In effect, you must reconcile yourself to the fact that aspects of your pre-parrot life will need to be changed or modified in order to ensure their health and happiness. And then there is the "object envy" that is part and parcel of the parrot mentality. Once they have grown accustomed to you, and accepted you as part of their flock, what you have they will want. Be it food, physical objects, whatever, if it is in your hand or on your plate they are sure to demand some part or test of its' worth to them. Most likely, the more you try to prevent their acquiring this new found object of their affection (you know, that set of keys in the palm of your hand, screwdriver used while putting together a new playstand, bit of apple) the more they will want it. And they are notoriously good thieves, so chances are they will have it whether you make it easy or not. So some behavior modification will be necessary, and I don't so much mean THEIR behavior, but yours; you will need to learn what you can display in their vicinity. All of this can be a challenge for a new parent, but over time these character traits can become quite endearing, and often add an element of humor to an otherwise mundane task. Try putting together a new cage while several flighted birds are watching and flitting about to and fro and you will see how determined they can be to help. And by help I mean make things more complicated and lengthy in a three-stooges sort of way.
Midori is a 2 year old male ring-neck who came to live with us after he (who I was told was she) showed a propensity for chewing on my finger during my weekly visits to the local pet shop. Of course I am no sadist, and no it wasn't the actual chewing that drew me to him, but rather the fact that he alone of all the birds housed in that shop showed no fear upon first introduction. The birds kept there live in too-small cages on a very low grade seed based diet. They seldom clean the cages there, and the birds get little attention or positive interaction. I try to stop in once or twice a week to give them all a few moments of attention and give them a treat of pine nut or walnut; some accept after seeing me eat a few, but most decline and so I slip one into the food bowl hoping they will later enjoy it.

When first I took Midori home, I knew he would make a good member of the family. After getting him into his new cage (a poor design but good size) I decided I would put together a make-shift rope bridge to sit across the top most section of the cage which in this model cage was a pitched roof type bit of powder-coat metal. After fashioning the rope, I detached one side and slowly lifted it slighty while explaining my purpose to him. While he did move to the opposite side of the cage from whence my hand entered, he did it with no show of panic, just a need to move out of the way. This told me much about his personality, and made me smile inside. And then, after my cage modification was finished, he immediately climbed upward to the rope to explore; that immediately became his evening roost, and he would poke his head curiously downward from that perch whenever someone was in the vicinity to see who it was (remember, the pitched roof type top provided a blind spot), and to this day (he now lives in a bigger and better designed cage) I keep a blind spot always in one section of the top of his cage as he likes his little private hidey hole.

Midori is now with us a bit over a year, his ring has grown in nicely, and he has proven to be quite the clown. He is also a notorious thief and anything held in hand must be well protected, for he will surely fly down from above like an eagle and try to wrest it from grip, then quickly take flight with it as a new prized possession. He is also the socialite, loving all birds with whom he makes acquaintance and always willing to do his "heart-shaped wing" display. He also loves my wife and I and loves to use us for taxi service from one room to the next, seemingly as much as he loves flying frantically about the house like a kamakazee green missile towards the head of anyone in his flight path then quickly veering just beyond the range of impact before collision is met. He is quite the acrobatic flyer, and I feel quite certain that he finds great humor in this flight tactic of his.

But Midori is a "don't touch me" bird. He gives love in his way, and loves to preen us (although not as much as he loves preening Lucky his Green-cheeked girlfriend). He also likes to make his little dance while sitting upon arm or shoulder, and making his little love sounds. Midori is a wonderful fellow, full of life, driven by a great passion for food of any sort, be it pellets, veggies, fruit, or an occasional morsel from our plates. His antics are a pleasure to behold, and he seems to have a great sense of humor as well as a forgiving nature. While I wish I could give him the cuddles and scritches he deserves, he does not require and so I give him love in the ways he wishes; talking to him in silly voices, a non-directional taxi ride around the house, or a well deserved treat of pine nut for being such a splendid fellow. But the truth is: they are ALL splendid fellows, and they ALL deserve as much love as we can give and they are willing to accept. Be it Midori, who is loved and housed in as good a life as it is possible for us to give him, or the many who suffer from the ignorance of keepers instead of parronts. After all, parronts are companions, not owners or keepers, but flock members and family. And parrots are not pets, but deeply emotional, highly intelligent living beings who wish to share in life not watch it go by in a situation of neglect or abuse. When in the home, they are our equal, subject only to those rules and limitations necessary to keep them healthy and safe; or, that is how it should be

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